Lemon and ginger millefeuilles
Once you've mastered the art of the rough puff pastry here, experiment with the fillings using your favourite flavour combinations.
For the rough puff pastry
- 750g/1lb 10oz strong white flour
- pinch salt
- 250g/9oz unsalted butter, diced
- 250g/9oz lard, diced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- about 450ml/16fl oz iced water
For the lemon curd
- 3 free-range eggs, plus 4 free-range egg yolks
- 6 lemons, juice and zest of 3 lemons
- 115g/4oz unsalted butter, diced
- 115g/4oz caster sugar
For the ginger cream filling
- 1 x 250g/9oz jar preserved ginger in syrup
- 300ml/10fl oz double cream
- 300ml/10fl oz crème fraîche
- 300g/10oz cream cheese
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 2 tsp ground ginger
For the icing
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper. You'll also need two more large baking trays.
For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the butter and lard then add the lemon juice and just enough iced water to bring the pastry together. Shape the dough into a block and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Roll the pastry out to a rectangle of 5mm/¼in thickness and fold into thirds. Seal the edges by pressing them together, turn the pastry through 90 degrees and roll out again. Wrap in cling film and chill in the freezer for five minutes.
Repeat step 3 twice then chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, or until ready to use.
Roll out one quarter of the pastry on a floured work surface to a 3mm/⅛i thickness and carefully place on one of the lined baking trays. Repeat with another quarter of the pastry. Return the remaining pastry to the fridge.
Prick each sheet of pastry with a fork, dust with icing sugar and return to the fridge for five minutes. Lay a piece of greaseproof paper over each sheet of pastry, cover each with a empty baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the top baking tray and parchment, dust the pastry with icing sugar and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining pastry.
When the pastry sheets are cool, cut them with a pizza slicer or a sharp knife into 10cm x 5cm/4in x 2in rectangles. You will need 36 rectangles for the finished millefeuilles (this recipe makes plenty of pastry so don’t worry if there are a few breakages when you cut it).
Meanwhile, make the lemon curd. Whisk together the egg yolks and eggs in a large bowl. Place the lemon juice, zest, butter and sugar in large metal bowl, set it over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
Gradually whisk the hot butter mixture into the eggs then pour the mixture back into the metal bowl over simmering water. Whisk constantly for 4-5 minutes, or until the curd thickens. Pour the lemon curd into a clean bowl and place clingfilm directly on the surface to prevent a skin forming. Chill until required.
For the ginger filling, blend half the ginger and all of the syrup in a blender to a smooth purée. Finely chop the remaining ginger and set it aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, crème fraîche and cream cheese until smooth then fold in the lemon zest, ground ginger and about four tablespoons of the ginger purée.
Gently fold 125ml/4fl oz of the lemon curd into the cream mixture and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm/½in plain nozzle. Chill until required.
For the icing, place the sugar and water in a small pan, and heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the fondant icing and heat until the mixture is of a thick pouring consistency. Remove about 125ml/4fl oz of the mixture and stir in a few drops of yellow food colouring; spoon the it into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle. Set aside to cool completely.
To assemble the millefeuilles, take 12 rectangles of the pastry and lie them next to each other in two rows of six. Pour the white icing over them, spreading it carefully with a palette knife. Pipe across lines of yellow icing and drag a toothpick in the opposite direction to make the traditional feathered pattern. Let the icing set for five minutes then carefully separate the pieces of pastry.
Scatter a little chopped ginger onto 12 plain pastry bases and pipe over some ginger cream filling. Top with the remaining plain pastry bases and add another layer of chopped ginger and cream. Top with an iced pastry rectangle.
This recipe makes more lemon curd than you'll need. Leftovers will keep in a jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.